Weakley County School’s HVAC Project Problems Persist

Former contract didn’t comply with grant requirements for American parts


The Weakley County Commission decided last week to raise money to advance the HVAC project at Weakley County Schools. The project, aimed at upgrading the HVAC systems in County School buildings, hit a snag when the supplier, Trane, failed to meet USDA grant requirements that at least 55% of the parts be American-made. Despite initial assurances, Trane has not provided the necessary documentation to prove compliance.

To avoid delays, the State Comptroller’s Office has agreed to either force Trane to obtain the required certification or to switch the financing method. The new plan ensures the county won’t spend more than it would have with the USDA grant.

County officials, including the bond counsel, the Comptroller’s Office, and County Attorney Allison Whitledge, are working together to finalize the process. Whitledge has drafted a contract with Trane, guaranteeing that any additional costs will be covered by Trane, not the county.

Trane has agreed to reimburse the county or adjust fees if there are extra expenses beyond what would have been paid under the USDA grant. The contract is currently being reviewed by bond attorneys and will be sent to Trane next. Jeff Cupples, Director of Weakley County Schools, aims to have the project underway by the fall.

Switching to alternative financing could result in higher interest and fees. If these costs are significantly more than under the USDA grant, the county could face financial risk unless Trane agrees to the contract terms.

Weakley County School, Weakley County Schools Director Jeff Cupples, Trane